Oak Park and River Forest High School senior Harrison Green stood last week inside of his cavernous living room, taking stock of his most recent obsessions — among them, a custom quadcopter, or basically a drone, that he built from HobbyKing parts and hooked up to a flight controller board; a homemade 8-bit computer, which resembles a giant, Atari-era circuit board; and a homemade 3-D printer he built form $400 worth of materials and 14 hours of free time.

On his personal website, harrisongreen.me, the soft-spoken 17-year-old describes himself as “a high school student interested in computer science and electrical engineering.” 

The barebones bio could fool someone into thinking that Green is indistinguishable from the crowd of talented techies and budding inventors at OPRF. 

But most probably can’t say that they’ve already landed a full-time job at a technology startup. The company, Intelligent Flying Machines, based in Evanston, manufactures autonomous drones. 

Green said he couldn’t share too many details about the company other than that it was started by Northwestern students who had posted a job listing over the summer that caught the OPRF student’s eye. 

Harrison, who taught himself numerous computer programming languages while a student at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest, works as a software engineer with the company.

Green said he’s the youngest person in the firm, but the age discrepancy doesn’t seem too pronounced, since the company is staffed by people who are college age or only slightly older. 

“When other people see [me and my coworkers] together, they don’t necessarily realize that I’m in high school, since we all look around the same age,” Green said. 

Last month, Green travelled with his firm to the Tech Crunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, where the company was one of only 23 startups in the country to make software presentations. 

“It’s a big deal for a company to be invited to attend,” said Sonia Green, Harrison’s mother. “Presenters included some of the leading people in technology as well as basketball phenomenon Steph Curry, who is an investor in a tech startup.” 

Sonia said she watched on live stream while Harrison stood on stage with his coworkers during the presentation, which they pitched before a crowd of about 2,000 conference attendees. The moment, Sonia said, was thrilling even if somewhat predictable. 

“I remember him building things from the age of 2 years old,” Sonia recalled during an interview last week. “He would take Campbell’s soup cans and baby food jars and stack them. He was always taking things apart. I get all these Facebook memories that pop up on my feed of Harry from, like, six years ago, sitting in Borders back when they still existed. He’d be surrounded by all these programming books.”

Roughly a decade later, a mound of programming books at least three feet high frames the doorway between the kitchen and the living room in the Greens’ River Forest home. The books are paying off. 

“He’s a good kid,” said Sonia of Harrison, the oldest of her four boys. “He even got his three younger brothers smart watches for their birthdays.” 

Harrison, who said he’s currently transitioning from full-time to part-time, hopes to study computer science or electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next fall, when he may have to break away from his current employer because of the distance. 

But he’ll be closer to what he said is his ultimate ambition — working with his role model Elon Musk, the brainchild behind pioneering technologies like the Tesla electric car and the SpaceX program. 

“If I ever had a chance to work with him that would be cool,” Harrison said, perhaps already plotting out how he’ll land his next dream job.

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com 

Join the discussion on social media!

One reply on “Still in high school, but already dreamily employed”